July 15-17, 2013
Balestrand, nestled against snowy peaks and set on wide section of the enormous Sognefjord (the largest in Norway) is a quaint town that thrives from the overflow of Nutshell tourists that flood the area. Norway in a Nutshell is a quick tourist route through the mountains and fjords between Olso and Bergen.
In good weather the setting would be lovely and the town a great base to both explore the Sognefjord and the extensive hiking trails above the town. However, since we arrived in fog and left two days later in thicker fog with rain showers in between, I’m not sure how much good weather they actually get.
Judging from the amazing greenery that surrounds the picturesque town of wooden houses with manicured gardens and the mossy forest above, my guess is our experience here is not that uncommon.
With the dismal weather we did not take full advantage of the extensive trail network that crisscrosses the hills and peaks above town.
On a summer day with the fjord completely fogged in and a light drizzle in the air we walked the 5 kilometer loop trail – the green route – just above the town. The trail head has a small parking lot and is about a 15 minute walk uphill from the town center.
It’s a pretty walk through a green mossy forest (no surprise it’s often rainy) to a view point above the town and then past a stream tumbling out of the hills.
The trail, while well marked, is a bit confusing. Take along the map available from the tourist office or at the Balestrand Hotel if you are staying there.